In California, there are two ways to end a marriage. You can either get a divorce or an annulment. While a divorce legally ends a marriage, an annulment declares the marriage null and void. It’s as if it never existed. But the end result is similar for both options. Since most people are familiar with what a divorce is and what it means, this post will focus on annulment.
Annulments are a form of relief for people who were placed in situations in which they never should have been married. Since an annulment treats the marriage as though it never existed, a person must have a good reason to obtain one.
Typically, one of the following requirements (or legal grounds) must be met to obtain an annulment:
● Fraud or Misrepresentation: One of the spouses has lied about something, such as age or already being married.
● Concealment: One of the spouses hid a major fact, such as a felony conviction.
● Misunderstanding: An example might be that one of the spouses does not want to have children and was not upfront regarding this issue.
● Impotency or Incest: One of the spouses is impotent (and the other spouse didn’t know), or the spouses are too close in familial relation to marry.
● Lack of Consent: One party lacked mental capacity to consent or was forced into marriage.
Just like a divorce, a judge in an annulment case will have to determine child custody, child support, division of property, and division of debts. An annulment case will also generally follow the same legal process as a divorce in terms of the steps involved to reach a final solution.
If you can show grounds for an annulment, and a judge grants your request, the court will treat your marriage as if it never happened. While there are many different reasons people prefer an annulment, such as for religious reasons, you'll still need to meet your state's specific and often difficult requirements for a legal annulment of your marriage.
There are some benefits to getting an annulment over a divorce. One benefit is that there is typically no waiting period for an annulment, although there is a waiting period in some states when you file for a divorce. There is also no minimum residency period necessary for an annulment, unlike the minimum residency period for a divorce (usually from 60 days to six months depending on the state).
If you want to remarry, the annulment process is generally fast and will allow you to remarry much more quickly than with a divorce. If you’re thinking of trying to get an annulment or a divorce, give us a call. We are happy to help guide you through the process! (909) 377-8141
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